tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC November 14, 2012 10:00am-11:00am PST
hearing this week on a separate problem. intelligence nurse flurs surrounding benghazi. >> john mccain is calling for a broader watergate style panel to investigate. >> for the sake of the families of those four brave americans who sacrificed their lives, they and the american people deserve answers. >> and overnight in australia, secretary panetta and clinton urging the public not to rush to judgment on general allen, who has been nominated to be the supreme allied commander at nato. >> no one should leap to conclusions here. general allen is doing an excellent job. at isaf. he has my continued confidence to lead our forces and to continue the fight. >> general allen is a distinguished commander who's been an important part of the nato isaf mission in afghanistan.
and more on jill kelley, friendly with both generals. she and her twin sister did have a brief stint on reality tv appearing on the food network nearly a decade ago. >> it's nice to exploit their weakness which is their ego. >> plus, nancy pelosi deciding to go for another term as democratic leader. her big announcement didn't go exactly as planned. >> said yesterday we did not have the majority but we have the gavel. excuse me. we don't have the gavel. >> we were hoping to. we have our own gavel. hammer. >> we have something more important. we have unity. >> and they certainly have woman
power in that photo op. andrea mitchell live in new york. within the hour, president obama will be holding his first news conference in eight months. the first since his re-election. reporters are likely going to be asking about a lot more than the fiscal cliff, as important as that is, be now that the president's national security team is coping with an expanding scandal. congress drilling down on the investigation into benghazi. joining me from the white house, chuck todd, chief white house correspondent, be host of "the daily run down request" and enjoying a front row seat. >> as you point out the hoping statement will be about the fiscal cliff. the whole point of this press conference was about setting, you know, this was their intention, right. about setting sort of the parameters of the public debate where they are on fiscal cliff. but, of course, we haven't questioned him in over eight months. questions about benghazi, questions about the petraeus thing, how did the fbi, is the president pleased with, seems there's a little pattern here of
it seems to take a while for certain information to get to the white house a little bit, how -- what is his reaction to that. so this is his first comments that we're going to hear since the whole david petraeus mess exploded. so obviously that's going to be some of the news. i can tell you the white house folks are not happy that half the press conference will not be about fiscal cliff since that is what is front and center, all these deadlines facing them. the irony is, be andrea, had they done the post-election press conference when traditionally held back in bush and clinton a couple days after the election, there wouldn't have been a question about david petraeus. >> if he had not -- if he held it in chicago the morning after traditionally when this is done. >> or even thursday. >> or even thursday u.s. exactly. >> although by thursday his national security team knew and was about to inform him about the petraeus possible resignation. >> all the reason they wanted to delay. >> let's talk for a moment first about the fiscal cliff.
the business leaders who came in following, of course, the labor leaders and others who came in yesterday to talk about the bargaining and the terms of reference, what did he hear from the business community about what bargains points he should be making and how important it is or isn't to avoid the fiscal cliff? >> the business community wants certainty. that's what they care more about anything else. they want certainty. the question is going to be how much of an ally can they be to the president. he has a specific goal he has in mind. decoupling the bush tax rates if you will, for the wealthy, 250 for couples and above and everybody else. it's a bill that's already passed the senate. the president wants to get that enacted into law and then have the discussion about tax reform. and i -- the question is going to be, does he try to get the business community's support on that front and say look, i can get you certainty for a year as we do the larger conversation on corporate and personal tax reform. and i think that -- the question
is going to be, how much does the business community push back and say hey, you know, don't draw too big of a fight and don't threaten to go over the fiscal cliff to get your way. that's not going to make the business world happy either. >> i have to believe that along the margins of either this meeting or other follow-up meetings they are also weighing in, he has to be asking, what to do about treasury. we believe -- >> it's funny you bring that up. >> what are you hearing about that? >> well, it's funny you bring that up. there's jack lew and everybody else. other names, erskine bowles and roger altman. but i've talked to some white house people that actually would like some fresh names. like some fresh ideas. it's not 100% certain that jack lew will get the job. there is some support for him inside the white house. but if not him, who? and on the margins that's going to be interesting to see if they give him some fresh ideas on that front. >> chuck todd, you've got a busy
day. thank you for starting with us. >> yes, ma'am. >> brings new details in the wake of petraeus resignation. joining me with their reporting, justice correspondent pete williams, nbc news national investigative correspondent michael isikoff and nbc news capitol hill correspondent kelly o'donnell, where a lot of questions are being asked as congress has returned today. first to you, pete, bring us up to date on how you think at this stage the investigation was triggered? what new we are learning about the trail of e-mails, particularly e-mails that went to and from general allen sp? >> i think the broad brush is well known and we're going back and filling in the tiny brush strokes on how this came about. it does seem clear now paula broadwell was sending e-mails to jill kelley she considered to be harassing and we now know to general allen. general allen did something with his e-mails, he forwarded them to jill kelley and he also sent them to someone at the pentagon for them to look into.
when jill kelley went to the fbi, her agent friend in june, to complain about all these e-mails she had both the ones sent to her, we know by paula broadwell as well as whatever e-mails sent to general allen and forwarded to her. she had that -- all those together. i think, andrea, it's fair to say in terms of investigations now, it's all but over for the fbi except for one last question and that is, was there some sort of a classified document violation on the part of paula broadwell? did she have access to things she shouldn't have or more likely was she improperly storing them on her personal computer and house. that's what the search on monday night was about. the people i've talked to say it doesn't appear to be anything major. i suppose the prosecutors in tampa could go either way on whether they want to pursue charges here. doesn't seem at this point like she had any truly significant danger to national security kind of documents sitting around her
house. >> now, michael is ssy cover, w we know from our colleague jim at the pentagon, her base pass to macdil air force base, be citizens that do work on the base and have relationships through different community service groups that has been revoked and it's unclear what level of engagement she had at the base. but what more are we learning about jill kelley and her connections in the tampa community? >> well, quite extensive, apparently, and remember, that the e-mails that these anonymous e-mails from paula broadwell which we understand by the way came from as many as five or six anonymous accounts, one of which was initially named kelley patrol, we've confirmed that, but those e-mails which came to her talked about her relationships with multiple
generals at the u.s. central command and the u.s. special operations command. and apparently paula broadwell at least believed there was a basis that jill kelley had entre and relationships and friendships that may have been inappropriate with multiple high-level people. how accurate all that is at the end of the day we don't know. but we do know and i think we heard a lot of it from jill kelley's own voice when she made that 911 phone call about the press on her -- stalking her if you will over the weekend, that she was throwing around, flaunting her connections, talking about how she was an honorary council and had some sort of diplomatic immunity which she didn't have. so, just from that alone, there's a suggestion that she was making the most of the connections that she did have.
>> and kelly o'donnell on capitol hill where the leaders and the rank and file have come back and we know nancy pelosi today announcing she will again seek the caucus's support which she will have to be the democratic leader. now there was some surprise among some as you know better than anyone, back in the caucus in 2010 after a loss, it is a tradition that the leader steps down, nancy pelosi wanted to stay and continued to lead the minority and again, they've picked up some seats, they've not regained control. so her decision today, ruffled some feathers. clearly it is a setback for steny hoyer who might have succeeded her and a dust up when luke russert, your colleague up there, our colleague, asked her about this. >> some of your colleagues privately say that your decision to stay on prohibits the party from having a younger leadership and will be -- hurts the party in the long term. what's your response? >> always ask that question
except to mitch mcconnell. >> delay younger leadership from the house democratic ranks? >> let's for a moment honor that that's a legitimate question. it's quite offensive. you don't realize it, i guess. the fact is that everything that i have done in my i guess decade now of leadership, is to elect younger and newer people to the congress. >> well, there's a lot going on there, gender, age. let me throw it to you. >> well, there are plenty of land mines there, but basically nancy pelosi has been saying that she has worked very hard on behalf of the party, she raised a lot of money. she has been often the very visible target of republicans. we certainly saw that in 2010. she described having an insatiable need to stay in this political game and to be part of the important work that is yet
to be done. there are many who have told me that they were a bit surprised that she chose to stay on. others who have said she told not even some of her close associates on capitol hill what her plans were. but her posture certainly led to a sense she would stay on. the idea that there are others who would like to move up is certainly well known. when you have 70 somethings as your lieutenants in steny hoyer and jim clyburn, respected members of the democratic caucus, they want to move up. there is a natural tension when it comes to positions of power. nancy pelosi has been very visible for a long time and she intends to stay that way. andrea? >> kelly o'donnell, thank you so much. it's sort of all in the family, right. in so many ways. thank you, kelly. thank you michaele isikoff and pete william all over the unfolding expanding petraeus scandal. thank you so much. up next as we await the president's press conference we will talk to congressman jason
chafe fitz a vocal critic of the response to benghazi. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. to hel. when a twinge of back pain surprises him. morning starts in high spirits, but there's a growing pain in his lower back. as lines grow longer, his pain continues to linger. but after a long day of helping others, he gets some helpful advice. just two aleve have the strength to keep back pain away all day. today, jason chose aleve. just two pills for all day pain relief. try aleve d for strong, all day long sinus and headache relief. reports" only on msnbc.
behind the more headline grabbing details of the petraeus scandal lies the former cia director's role in the ongoing benghazi investigation. now that petraeus is going to be testifying, what can we expect to hear from him? joining me now is congressman chaffetz, one of the biggest critics of the obama administration's handling of the benghazi attack. what do you want to know? the senate has its own concerns. >> well i would love to know from the president back on june 6th when there was a terrorist attack on our benghazi facility was the president aware of that, what did he do about it. during the attack itself does not appear based on the information the department of defense revealed on friday, that the president took any action or gave any directive for our
military to go in and engage in the fire fight and extract our forces and then the third part i want to know about is, why did the president mislead the american people about what happened on the ground because it was clear that the intelligence officers, the state department was able to witness this in real time. there was no indication there was a mob. no indication that a video was the jen ne sis of this. why did the administration for weeks mislead the american people. >> they claim they were not misleading the american people, it was a work in progress, basing it on the initial intelligence assessments. >> i would beg to differ. nothing i see in the initial intelligence efforts that suggest that the video was the genesis of it. i know what was happening in cairo, they were concerned about that. but what is crystal clear is that immediately, they knew because they said they testified in the hearing we had before the election, that there they were witnessing this in real time and all of those indications were that this was a very orchestrated, very sophisticated
attack on the compound that went on for hours and hours and hours. this was not a mob gone wild. there was not a video sparking this spontaneously. >> congressman, you've had your own hearings with darrell issa and there have been complaints from the democratic ranking members that they were not involved in either the witness lists or the briefings by the witnesses or questioning leading into it. what do you think of senator mccain and senator graham who are calling for a select committee which would be perhaps a joint committee, house and senate, bipartisan, to have one group like a watergate panel or an iran-contra panel to look into benghazi? >> the first part of your question i would beg to differ. the democrats were there when i visited with eric nordstrom. we were there hand and glove together. they did get to participate in our witness lists. but the second part of your question, the senate is moving in the right direction. i think there is a concern if you stove pipe this and so many different committees trying to
interview individuals you don't get the full picture. i support what senator mccain, lindsey graham, kelly ayotte are doing. i think that probably is the right direction. >> thank you so much. thanks for being with us. >> thank you. >> we're only minutes away from the president's news conference. stay with us for live coverage next on "andrea mitchell reports." >> time for the your business entrepreneurs of the week. kathleen and susan are encouraging customers to shop local. they created the monthly ladies night in the magnolia park area of burbank, california, to boost sales by staying open late. make sure to support your local retailers on november 24th for the third annual small business saturday. for more watch your business this sunday morning at 7:30 on msnbc.
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michael beschloss and special correspondent tom brokaw. tom as a former white house correspondent and so much more, you've been through this. this is a moment of drama, though. eight months since his last full-blown white house press conference and he thought he was going to be laying out the agenda in victory and he is still in victory, but it is a very different agenda. >> welcome to your second term, mr. president. what i think is urgent for the president and for the principals involved in this and the american people is to get a very swift resolution of the issues that are outstanding, but make sure that it's a very thorough investigation and that there's bipartisan participation in it because there are so many other outstanding issues that we have to resolve going in to this second term. and i know that the president thought he was going to have probably a kind of triumphant news conference and then stake his claim for what he wanted to do in the second term. having been in that room during watergate and other times, the
press understandably, will be spending a lot of time on the whole general petraeus, general allen security issue, benghazi issue, because the president has really never been forced to answer those questions until we hope he does today. >> and chris cizilla, you know that the president was meeting earlier today with business leaders. they want a certainty in the face of the fiscal cliff. he has all these domestic issue. he planned a ten minute opening statement on that. but then he does have to face these questions which also have a big impact on his new cabinet choices in the national security field. >> oh, no question, andrea. look i think he will spend all ten minutes in his opening statement talking about fiscal cliff and the right way forward. i think the first question, toms a right, make it a policy not to disagree with tom, but he's 100% right on this, that the first question i would assume will be about general petraeus, general allen and sort of more broadly
that situation. the issue i think is what does president obama say. clearly he doesn't want to -- i don't think he wants to make any news, at least not purposely on it. and wants to kind of move off of it as quickly as he can. that's not entirely in his hands, of course. if the first question and then the follow-up and the second question and the third question are all somewhat related to that, it becomes harder, how long do they stay on it, does -- do we talk about how much do we talk about benghazi, how much do we talk about israel. you know, that's what's hard about a press conference. you get your say at the start but the reporters ask their questions and you never know where the story goes from there. >> john harris, you've been in that room also as a former white house correspondent and the president is going to be going into this meeting with the business leaders asking for their advice, their terms of reference, how much to give on taxes and which are the most important from their perspective and potentially a little advice as well on what kind of leader they would like to see at the treasury.
>> there's no question about it and i think that is the big issue, the fiscal cliff and all the choices that president obama has to make. the different positions he's going to be striking publicly, to set himself up well for private negotiations. clearly the petraeus story is the most sensational news of the day. i think that is the most significant. if i can make two points for the historically minded people on this panel to agree or disagree, i think this transition post-election shows two things. one, honeymoons, especially in second terms, the notion of presidential honeymoons, pretty much bologna, can be overtaken by events and usually if in -- in my experience are. i don't think that's for real. mandates aren't really for real in a second term. presidents get their power from circumstances how they play off the news, use the issues that are in front of them at the moment. there's no such thing as a mandate that comes like a bank account with money in it that you can draw down. i think president obama is
seeing that. >> in fact, michael beschloss, you studied this going back in history. second terms are fraught with difficulty and getting the right team in place is one thing, gekt the right policies is another, but then you have to respond to unexpected events. clearly learning on thursday, a week ago thursday, that two days after having been re-elected that general petraeus had been offering his resignation because of a scandal, that was not an expected event? >> no. that's exactly right. it's the last thing that barack obama would have wanted to do, to be talking about the first press conference of his new second term approaching. there's always a struggle. no mandate in the constitution. always a push back by the opposition party. 1992 when bill clinton was elected bob dole went on tv and said i represent the 57% of americans who did not vote for bill clinton. paul ryan gave an interview saying he didn't believe that
president obama has a mandate because he didn't win both congresses. you have to say eisenhower, nixon, reagan, other presidents substantially re-elected or elected didn't have mandates themselves. >> tom brokaw, in this second term as the president begins to decide how to shape his policies, be he according to all that have talked to him and other white house officials want to get things done. he told the "des moines register" in an interview he thought was going to be held as an off the record interview, wanted to do something big on immigration. clearing the deck of these investigations as you said and this our aura of scandal is critical to have the power on capitol hill to make tough decisions. >> rudy giuliani said before this election and says it in a kind of joshing way, that he doesn't want a second term, he wants a second chance. i thought that was accurate. he does want a second chance and the country needs for him to have a successful second chance. because the issues are so
outstanding beginning with the economy. but immigration and what kind of a country we're going to be going into the 21st century more deeply with china and brazil and india and those competitors we have out there now. young people not being able to get a job. the manufacturing base changing. so i do hope that the president does have a strong concept of where he wants to go and how he wants to get there. look, be he's the first african-american president gets re-elected as an african-american president. those will be more than asterisks in history. now it's about legacy, andrea. it's about what did i accomplish. not just that i was unique as a candidate but would i leave behind for jen rags yet to come -- generations yet to come. >> you spent so much time with the military, the troops in iraq and afghanistan and wars going back. how damaging do you think it is to the morale when two of the most celebrated four-star generals, one is involved because of his acknowledged
misconduct, the other peripherally involved, we now believe, because he got an e-mail, turned it over to authorities and now perhaps seen as a witness more than anything else, but two four-star leaders, you know, in the war zone, one at the cia which is a kind of war and the other in afghanistan? >> i can promise you in afghanistan today, young americans are putting on their kevlar vests and going out in hostile situations but this is what they're talking about. the rules are so strict about those kinds of relationships and i don't know of anyone who was not stunned by the disclosure it was general petraeus who has been not just a great warrior, a great intellectual army leader but also has the reputation of being a boy scout personally. has very strong values. i know that, in fact, his highest priority at the moment is to repair his relationship within his family. that's what he's working on first. and my own guess is, it's only that, that when he does testify,
he'll share in the most revealing possible way what he learned and the country needs to learn from this. he can continue to give to the country. we ought not to forget both in general allen's case and general petraeus's case they have given a lot to this country. that we owe them more than we can pay them back and this is, obviously, going to be associated with them forever but that's why it's all the more urgent to get it cleared up and learn the lessons from it, andrea. and i would hope that both general allen and general petraeus would share that point of view. we made mistakes to one degree or another, now we can helps the country learn from those mistakes and help the institution i care about so much, the military. >> and, in fact, chris cizilla, benghazi is another big issue at this news conference because general petraeus is going to be testifying, we believe at closed hearings on the senate side about benghazi, lessons learned there, but that is an ongoing major challenge for the president, the intelligence community. >> and in truth, andrea, we've not had -- you noted how long
it's been since we had a presidential press conference. it's been longer than september 11th, 2012, when four people including ambassador chris stevens were killed in benghazi. there has not been an open chance for the press to ask questions about what happened, about the administration's response. republicans, especially conservative republicans, but republicans more broadly believe there's more here, they believe the president has not been answerable enough on benghazi. this is a chance for him to the extent that he can, to clear the air. there is an ongoing investigation. my guess is he won't say too much given that. i would expect that to be kind of sleeper story of this press conference. what i assume he will get at least one question on it. what does he say, if anything, and where do we go from there. he just really hasn't -- there has not been this opportunity yet to date for the press to sort of directly question him on benghazi. >> of course, john harris, we
know that you can ask questions, but he can always say that this is under ir investigation. what would you want to know? >> i think we would want to know, to the extent to which he has concluded that there was fault that lies within his administration. it seems to me especially in the wake of an election that would be a pretty easy concession for him to say look, there were some screw up, but those were not emblematic of a larger pattern and that they didn't flow from a -- from deliberate effort to deceive on the part of the administration. i would be curious if he said something like that. i would be -- going to be curious to what extent he comes to the defense of susan rice who is one of the kind of targets in this. our u.n. ambassador who widely mentioned to somebody who's a possible secretary of state, going to be very hard for her to aspire to that. while there's a cloud over her based on statements she made about the benghazi affair that turned out knob to the true. i think he's going to be
internal politics and external politics when this comes up. >> michael beschloss, as we await the president, those cabinet decisions are also in play. we see the president coming into the room. so let's go to the podium. >> good afternoon, everybody. please have a seat. i hear you have some questions for me. but let me just make a few remarks at the top and then i'll open it up. first of all i want to reiterate what i said on friday. right now, our economy is still recovering from a very deep and damaging crisis, so our top priority has to be jobs and growth. we've got to build on the progress that we've made because this nation succeeds when we've got a growing thriving middle class. and that's the idea at the core of the plan that i talked about on the campaign trail over the last year. rewarding manufacturers and small businesses that create
jobs here, not overseas, providing more americans the chance to earn the skills that businesses are looking for right now. keeping this country at the forefront of research, technology and clean energy. putting people back to work, rebuilding our roads, our bridges and our schools. and reducing our deficit in a balanced and responsible way. now on this last item, we face a very clear deadline that requires us to make some big decisions on jobs, taxes, and deficits by the end of the year. both parties voted to set this deadline and i believe that both parties can work together to make these decisions in a balanced and responsible way. yesterday i had a chance to meet with labor and civic leaders for their input, today i'm meeting with ceos of some of america's largest companies. and i'll meet with leaders of both parties of congress before the week is out because there's only one way to solve these challenges and that is to do it
together. as i've said before, i'm open to compromise and new ideas. and i've been encouraged over the past week to hear republican after republican agree on the need for more revenue from the wealthiest americans as part of our arithmetic if we're going to be serious about reducing the deficit. because when it comes to taxes, there are two pathways available -- option one, if congress fails to act by the end of this year, everybody's taxes will automatically go up. including the 98% of americans who make less than $250,000 a year. and the 97% of small businesses who earn less than $250,000 a year. that doesn't make sense. our economy can't afford that right now. certainly no middle-class family can afford that right now. nobody in either party says that they want it to happen. the other option is to pass a law right now that would prevent any tax hike whatsoever on the
first $250,000 of everybody's income. and by the way, that means every american, including the wealthiest americans, get a tax cut. it means that 98% of all americans and 97% of all small businesses won't see their taxes go up a single dime. the senate has already passed a law like this. democrats in the house are ready to pass a law like this. and i hope republicans in the house come on board too. we should not hold the middle class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the wealthy. we should at least do what we agree on. and that's to keep middle-class taxes low. and i'll bring everyone in to sign it right away so we can give folks some certainty before the holiday season. i won't pretend that figuring out everything else will be easy. but i'm confident we can do it and i know we have to. i know that that's what the american people want us to do.
that was the very clear message from the election last week. and that was the message of a letter i received over the weekend. it came from a man in tennessee who began by writing that he didn't vote for me. which is okay. but what he said was even though he didn't give me his vote, he's giving me his support to move this country forward and he said, the same to his republican representatives in washington. he said that he'll back each of us regardless of party as long as we work together to make life better for all of us. and he made it clear that if we don't make enough progress he'll be back in touch. so, my hope, he wrote, is that we can make progress in light of personal and party principles, special interest groups and years of business as usual. we've got to work together and put our differences aside. i couldn't say it better myself. that's precisely what i intend
to do and with that, let me open it up for your questions. and i'm going to start off with ben filler of ap. >> thank you, mr. president. can you assure the american people that there have been no breaches of national security or classified information in the scandal involving generals petraeus and allen and do you think that you, as commander in chief, and the american people, should have been told that the cia chief was under investigation before the election? >> well, i have no evidence at this point from what i've seen that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security. obviously there's an ongoing investigation. i don't want to comment on the specifics of the investigation. the fbi has its own protocols in terms of how they proceed, and,
you know, i'm going to let director mueller and others examine those protocols and make some statements to the public generally. i do want to emphasize what i've said before, general petraeus had an extraordinary career. he served this country with great distinction in iraq, in afghanistan, and as head of the cia. by his own assessment, he did not meet the standards that he felt were necessary as the director of cia with respect to this personal matter that he is now dealing with with his family and with his wife. it's on that basis that he tendered his resignation and it's on that basis that i accepted it. but i want to emphasize that from my perspective at least, he has provided this country an extraordinary service.
we are safer because of the work that dave petraeus has done and my main hope right now is that he and his family are able to move on and that this ends up being a single side note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary career. >> [ inaudible ]. >> you know, again, i think you're going to have to talk to the fbi in terms of what their general protocols are when it comes to what started off as a potential criminal investigation. one of the challenges here is that we're not supposed to medle in criminal investigations and that's been our practice. you know, i think that there are certain procedures that both the fbi follow or doj follow when they're involved in these investigations. that's traditionally been how we
view things in part because people are innocent until proven guilty and we want to make sure that we don't prejudge these kinds of situations. and so my expectation is that they followed protocols that they already established. >> jessica yellen. >> mr. president, on the fiscal cliff, two years ago, sir, you said that you wouldn't extend the bush-era tax cuts, but at the end of the day you did. so, respectfully, sir, why shoulds the american people and the republicans believe that you won't cave again this time? >> well, two years ago, the economy was in a different situation. we were still very much in the early parts of recovering from the worst economic crisis since the great depression and ultimately we came together not only to extend the bush tax cuts but also a wide range of
policies that were going to be good for the economy at that point. unemployment insurance extensions, payroll tax extension, all of which made a difference and is part of the reason why what we've seen is 32 consecutive months of job growth and 35 million jobs created and the unemployment rate coming down. what i said at the time is what i meant, which is this was a one-time proposition and, you know, what i have told leaders privately as well as publicly, is that we cannot afford to extend the bush tax cuts fors the wealthy. what we can do is make sure that middle-class taxes don't go up. and so the most important step we can take right now, i think the foundation for a deal that helps the economy, creates jobs,
gives consumers certainty which means gives businesses confidence that they're going to have consumers during the holiday season, is if we right away say 98% of americans are not going to see their taxes go up. 9 7% of small businesses will not see their taxes go up. if we get that in place, we are actually removing half of the fiscal cliff. half of the danger to our economy is removed by that single step. and what we can then do is shape a process whereby we look at tax reform, which i'm very eager to do. i think we can simplify our tax system. i think we can make it more efficient. we can eliminate loopholes and deductions that have a distorting effect on our economy. i believe that we have to continue to take a serious look at how we reform our entitlements because health care costs continue to be the biggest driver of our deficits.
so there is a package to be shaped and i'm confident that folks of the goodwill in both parties can make that happen but what i'm not going to do is to extend bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% that we can't afford and, be according to economists, will have the least positive impact on our economy. >> you've said that the wealthiest must pay more. would closing loopholes instead of raising rates for them satisfy you? >> i think that there are loopholes that can be closed and we should look at how we can make the process of deductions, the filing process easier, simpler. but when it comes to the top 2%, what i'm not going to do is to extend further a tax cut for
folks who don't need it, which would cost close to a trillion dollars and it's very difficult to see how you make up that trillion dollars, if we're serious about deficit reduction, just by closing loopholes and deductions. the math tends no -- tends not to work. it's important to establish a basic principle that was debated extensively during the course of this campaign. this shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. if there was one thing that everybody understood, was a big difference between myself and mr. romney, it was when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, i argued for a balanced, responsible approach and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest americans pay a little bit more. i think every voter out there understood that was an important debate and the majority of voters agreed with me. by the way, more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me. so we've got a clear majority of
the american people who recognize if we're going to be serious about deficit reduction we have to do it in a balanced way. the only question now is, are we going to hold the middle class hostage in order to go ahead and let that happen? or can we all step back and say, here's something we agree on, we don't want middle class taxes to go up, let's go ahead and lock that in, that will be good for the economy, it will be good for consumers, it will be good for businesses, it takes the edge off of fiscal cliff, and let's commit ourselves to the broader package of deficit reduction that includes entitlement changes and includes potentially tax reform as well as i'm willing to look at additional work on the gis kregs nary spending -- discretionary side. i want a big deal, comprehensive deal, see if we can, you know, at least for the foreseeable future provide certainty to businesses and the american people so we can focus on job
growth so that we're also investing in the things we need. but, right now, what i want to make sure of is that taxes on middle-class families don't go up and there's a very easy way to do that. we could get that done by next week. lori muntsanythinggra, telemundo. >> thank you, mr. president. on immigration reform the criticism in the past has been that you did not put forth legislation with specific ideas and send it up to the hill. this time around you have said again that this will be one of the top priorities for a second term. will you then send lemglatigisl to the hill and what do you envision is broad immigration reform? does that include a legalization program. also, what lessons, if any, did democrats learn from this last election and the latino vote? >> well, i think what was
incredibly encouraging was to see a significant increase in latino turnout. it is the fastest growing group in the country and, you know, historically what you've seen is latino vote at lower rates than the broader population and that's beginning to change. you're starting to see a sense of empowerment and civic participation that i think is going to be powerful and good for the country. and it is why i'm very confident that we can get immigration reform done. before the election, i had given a couple interviews where i predicted that the latino vote was going to be strong and that would cause some reflection on the part of republicans about their position on immigration reform. i think we're starting to see that already. i think that's a positive sign. this is not historically been a partisan issue. we've had president bush and
john mccain and others who have supported comprehensive immigration reform in the past. we need to seize the moment. my expectation is we get a bill introduced and we we begin the process in congress very soon after my inauguration and, in fact, some conversations i think are beginning to take place among senators and congressmen about my staff about what would this look like. when i say comprehensive immigration reform is similar to the outlines of comprehensive immigration reform. i think i should continue a strong measure taken because we have to secure our borders. i think it should contain serious penalties for companies purposely hiring undocumented workers and taking advantage of them and i think there should be a pathway for legal status for
those who are living in this country, are not engaged in criminal activity, are here simply to work. i've -- it's important for them to pay back taxes and learn english and potentially pay a fine but to give them the avenue whereby they can resolve their legal status here in this country i think is very important. obviously, making sure that we put in to law what the first step that we have taken administratively dealing with the dream act kids is very important, as well. one thing i'm clear about is that young people who are brought here through no fault of their own, who have gone to school here, pledged allegiance to our flag, want to serve in our military, want to go to school and contribute to our society, that they shouldn't be under the cloud of deportation. that we should give them every opportunity to earn their citizenship. and so, you know, there are
other components to it, obviously. the business community continues to be concerned about getting enough high-skill workers and i am a believer that if you've got a phd in physics or computer science who wants to stay here and start a business here, we shouldn't make it harder to stay here. we should encourage them to contribute to this society. i think the agricultural sector, obviously, has very specific concerns about making sure that they have got a workforce that helps deliver good to our table so there are going to be a bunch of components to it but i think whatever process we have needs to make sure border security is strong. needs to deal with employers effectively. needs to provide a pathway for the undocumented here. needs to deal with the dream act kids and i think that's something that we can get done. chuck todd. where's chuck? >> mr. president, i just want
the follow up on both of ben's and jessica's question. on having to do with ben's question -- >> how about the other question? >> no. i feel like you answered that one completely. are you withholding judgment on whether you should have known sooner there was an investigation in to whether your cia director, potentially a national security breach with your director. do you believe you should have known sooner or withholding judgment until the investigation is complete and then tax rates, is there no deal at the end of the deal if tax rates for the top 2% aren't the clinton tax rates, period? no, ifs, or buts and any room of negotiating on that specific aspect of the fiscal cliff? >> i am withholding judgment with respect to how the entire
process surrounding general petraeus came up. you know, we don't have all the information yet. but i want to say that i have a lot of confidence generally in the fbi and they have got a difficult job. and so, i'm going to wait and see to see if there's any other -- >> is there a way that you should have known? might have -- >> well, i mean, chuck, what i'll say is that if -- it is also possible that had we been told then you'd be sitting here asking a question about why were you interfering in a criminal investigation. so, i think it's best right now to for us to just see how this whole process unfolded. with respect to the tax rates, i just want to emphasize, i am hope to new ideas. if the republican counterparts or some democrats have a great
idea for us to raise revenue, maintain progressivity abnd the middle class isn't hit, decreases the deficit, increases growth, i want to hear idea -- i want to hear ideas from everybody. >>. [ inaudible ] >> look. i believe this is solvable. i think that fair-minded people can come to an agreement that does not cause the economy to go back in to recession, that protects middle class families, that focuses on jobs and growth and reduces the deficit. i'm confident it can be done. my budget frankly does it. i understand that -- i don't expect the republicans simply to adopt my budget that's not realistic. i acknowledge we have to compromise and as i said on election night, compromise is hard. and not everybody gets 100% of what they want and not
everybody's going to be perfectly happy, but what i will not do is to have a process that is vague, that says we're going to sort of kind of raise revenue through dynamic scoring or closing loopholes that have not been identified and the reason i won't do that is because i don't want to find ourselves in a position six months from now or a year from now where lo and behold the only way to close the deficit is to sock it to middle class families or to burden families that have disabled kids or, you know, have a parent in a nursing home. or suddenly we have to cut more out of our basic research budget that is the key to growing the economy in the long term. so that's my concern. i'm less concerned about red lines per se. what i'm concerned about is not
finding ourselves in a situation where the wealthy aren't paying more. or aren't paying as much as they should. middle class families one way or another are making up the difference. that's the kind of status quo that has been going on here too long and that's exactly what i argued against during this campaign and if there's one thing that i'm pretty confident about it's the american people understood what they were getting when they gave me this incredible privilege of being in office for another four years. they want compromise. they want action. but they also want to make sure that middle class folks aren't bearing the entire burden and sacrifice when it comes the some of these big challenges. they expect that folks at the top are doing their fair share, as well. that's my guiding principle during these negotiations but more importantly during the next four years of my administration.
nancy cortes. >> mr. president, on election night, you said that you were looking forward to speaking with governor romney, sitting down in the coming weeks to discuss ways that you could work together on this nation's problems. have you extended that invitation? has he accepted and in what ways do you think you can work together? >> you know, we vice president scheduled something yet. i think everybody forgets that the election was only a week ago and i know i've forgotten. i forgot on wednesday. so, you know, i think everybody needs to catch their breath. i'm sure that governor romney's spending some time with his family, and my hope is before the end of the year, though, that we have a chance to sit down and talk. you know, there are certain aspects of governor romney's record and his ideas that i think could be very helpful.
and, well, to give you one example, i do think he did a terrific i don't know running the olympics and, you know, that skill set of trying to figure out how do we make something work better applies to the federal government. there are a lot of ideas that i don't think are partisan ideas but are just smart ideas about how can we make the federal government more customer friendly, how can we make sure that, you know, we're consolidating programs that are duplicative. how can we eliminate additional waste? he presented some ideas during the course of the campaign that i actually agree with and so it would be interesting to talk to him about something like that. there may be ideas that he has with respect to jobs and growth. that can help middle class families that i want to hear so, you know,